The Whys and Hows of House-Moving

The ReUse People

By Ted Reiff

Reduce, Relocate, Reuse, Recycle

A new mantra in the environmental world? Probably not; however, adding “relocate” to the customary trio of imperatives might encourage us to consider a seldom-used option — house-moving.

When a house is deconstructed, it is removed in pieces and parts. When a house is relocated intact, the entire structure is saved. Have you ever actually seen a building moved, or been directly involved?

Moving a building today is a very sophisticated process that utilizes patented mechanical and hydraulic jacking systems and electric rolling and rotating dollies. The use of this specialized equipment has speeded the process and dramatically improved the end product, since damage to the structure is minimized.

Deconstruction offers many benefits. It saves landfill space, preserves embodied energy and results in a tax deduction when the materials are donated to a qualified nonprofit such as TRP.

However, numerous materials remain following deconstruction that are ultimately lost, including stucco, drywall and plaster, most roofing materials other than tile and slate, and 100 percent of the labor it took to design and build the structure.

When a building is relocated, most, if not all, of these items are saved. All that remains are the foundation, driveways and walkways, swimming pool (if any) and other hardscape.

In the early 1960s Carl Hanson, a longtime friend and TRP advisor, moved over 75 houses in the Los Angeles area. A few years later, as a realtor and builder, he sold 20 homes that Consolidated House Movers had on its yard, then bought 28 more homes in Los Angeles and moved them to lots in San Bernardino. Carl remembers that Consolidated was moving 400 houses per year back then and at any given time had 50 houses for sale and on cribbing in their yard. Consolidated also barged 50 houses from south Los Angeles to a redevelopment project in Oxnard.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Lozano House Moving barged homes from Oakland up the Sacramento River to Stockton.

In 1997, TRP worked with Carl Hanson on a large Navy deconstruction project in San Diego. TRP was under contract to deconstruct 618 housing units. Most of these were 12- and 18-unit apartment buildings, but about 20 were officer duplexes. Carl investigated the cost to move the duplexes by barge to Rosarito in Baja, but the Navy’s new construction schedule did not allow enough time. However, three duplexes were sold to a Mexican citizen, who moved them to Tijuana.

A couple of years ago TRP moved a 1,400 square-foot ranch home in the Oakland hills to Vacaville, California.

The ReUse PeopleRecently Cheryl Sharp, TRP manager in San Diego, completed a residential deconstruction that included a playhouse. Rather than deconstruct the playhouse, she had it moved to our Los Angeles warehouse. It sold even before it was unloaded. (See photo, right).

House-moving can be a terrific alternative, but it does have its drawbacks.

First, it’s expensive. However, the expense is generally related to things other than the physical act of moving. For example:

  • The building may have to be cut into pieces to fit narrow streets and freeway lanes.
  • Low power and telephone lines may have to be raised.
  • Many cities require that transported buildings be upgraded to meet current building codes.
  • Finding a yard on which to temporarily store the building can prove difficult.
  • Finding a buyer is often time-consuming.

After all is said and done, though, the benefits are ample. TRP’s Oakland Hills client claimed twice the donation value as would have been realized through deconstruction.

If you are considering demolition or deconstruction, you might want to talk to your local TRP regional manager about house-moving. If it proves feasible, TRP is ready to accommodate you.

Special Event Reminders

Retail Warehouse Training

If you, or someone you know, are interested in starting and running a retail warehouse, TRP now offers retail training on an open-registration basis, in Oakland, on the following dates:

May 19 – May 23

For more information, visit our website.

Free TRP Webinars

The ReUse People Specials

March 27, 2014 - How to Deconstruct Specific Materials
How to identify materials that lend themselves to deconstruction; specific processes for deconstructing fixtures, framing and more; relative value of salvageable materials

April 24, 2014 - Why People Deconstruct
What motivates owners to deconstruct rather than demolish; in-depth discussion of tax advantages

For more information or to sign up for the webinars, visit WasteCap Webinar Series.

October 23 – 25, 2014 Reuse Alliance’s Reuse Conex Conference and Expo, Austin, TX. For more information, visit

Specials of the Month

At the Oakland warehouse we are featuring carpet tiles. Receive 25% off the price of any amount of carpet tiles through March 31.
The ReUse People Specials
The Los Angeles warehouse is featuring doors. Receive 50% off the price of any interior or exterior door through March 31.
The ReUse People Specials

New Inventory

The Oakland warehouse warehouse has received a shipment of stainless steel appliances. These always go fast, so come in and take a look!

New inventory at the Los Angeles warehouse includes numerous ceiling fans in various styles and colors, plantation shutters in several sizes, and a limited selection of plantation-style glass doors, both single and double. Great for spring spruce-ups!

The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials The ReUse People Specials

Deconstruction & New Materials Update

Visit the TRP website for a complete list of current deconstruction projects and inventories. Just click on “Retail Sales” and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Orange County (two convenient locations)
12827 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 590-8729
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00- 8:00; Saturday 9:00-6:00; Sunday 11:00-5:00
2200 S. Ritchey Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 434-6266
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-5:00; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Kansas City
4701 Deramus, Kansas City MO 64120
(816) 231-6889
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-6:00; Sat 9:00-4:00; closed Sunday

Reuse Depot
2711 Washington Blvd, Unit E
Bellwood, IL 60104
(708) 240-4910
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00p; Sat 10:00-4:00

The ReUse Warehouse
800 Taylor Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salt Lake Valley,
1276 South 500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 263-0136
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Summit & Wasatch Counties
6280 N. Silver Creek Drive, Silver Summit, UT
(435) 487-9015
Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00; closed Sunday

Recycle Utah
1951 Woodbine Way Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-9698
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-5:30; Sun 10:00-4:00

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